Although it was decades ago, (actually, almost half a century!) I can clearly recall a visual memory of my Mother sitting in her living room chair with a "Tab" cola on the lamp table and a writing box on her lap. Once comfortable and settled, she would take out her reliable Parker vacumatic and begin her weekly letter to Grandma. In my eyes, there was something very magical about that fountain pen. It looked classy and was only used for this weekly ritual.
I think most people growing up between 1950 throughout the 1970's would agree that writing letters was a common ritual in their home. Calling long distance on the phone was expensive. Stamps were cheap. There was no email. Even traveling by car was much more of a chore than it is now. People who moved away from their hometown kept in touch by writing weekly letters, reserving telephone calls for holidays and emergencies.
I suppose those pleasant memories of Mom writing had a lot to do with my vintage pen fascination and present collection. While I'm not into calligraphy, nor am I artistic in any sense of the word, I find these old pens fascinating, if even just to look at.
I do however, look forward to using my vintage fountain pens for Christmas cards and Thank-you letters. I find that by using my special pens on these occasions, I'm inspired to write notes and creative greetings along with the cards rather than just slapping a signature on them.
I get many compliments from hand written cards, year after year. The unique way in which the nib lays down the ink is something people just don't see these days, my personal greeting, even more of a rarity. Combined, these cards are quite impressive to most people on the receiving end!
Whether you are a hard core collector seeking rare antique models for trade or display, a calligrapher with a variety of shapes and sizes for different applications or a hobbyist like myself, we all harbor a special fascination for these pens for one reason or another.
Finding these collectibles used to be very difficult until the late 1990's and the introduction of the internet. Today, you can find a huge number of vintage pen listings on eBay 7 days a week, 24 hours a day! This is where I do most of my sourcing for my collection. If you haven't checked out this site, I recommend you do! Both the new & old pen inventory is second to none &eBay sign up takes only a minute. (You don't even have to sign up to look, however, you won't be able to purchase or take advantage of the advanced search features until you do.)
Imagine finding a 1948 Parker 51 pen/pencil set with the box in mint condition for your collection? Or a Vintage Waterman's Patrician Lever fill fountain pen in Nacre color from 1929? How about a Montblanc Pixomat four color ballpoint, gold plated pen from the 1960's? Finds like these are all over eBay everyday! For collectors, this is fantastic. If you know specifically what you are looking for, the search feature makes it quite easy to locate the exact pen you need for your collection.
Often people find these pens while cleaning out their deceased relatives homes. Not having any interest or knowledge about these finds, they list them on eBay. This is where the real deals happen! If you seek out these type of listings, you can walk away with a beautiful vintage writing instrument at fantastic savings!
The craftsmanship of the older pens & mechanical pencils was outstanding and perhaps that's why there are so many quality, working pieces still available today. This is not surprising to me. What is amazing to me though, is the number of NOS listings you can find! (new old stock) These pieces are truly stunning, particularly the pre-1950 finds, and they aren't as difficult to locate as you'd think!
When it comes to NOS, I'm partial to the pen/pencil sets. I love the way they look under the lights in my display case lying in the open box, just like new! Occasionally I'll gift one, making it a true one of a kind keepsake your recipient knows cannot be found anywhere!
I think a lot of this inventory comes from small office shops that are closing due to the big box stores moving into their area. They auction everything off and there's always unopened pieces from years gone bye, forgotten on a shelf or drawer in the backroom until a collector or re-seller discovers them. Some of it comes from estate sales too. It was not uncommon for someone to leave their new pens in the original boxes, unused, waiting for the right time (that never came) to break it out.
Whatever your reason for seeking out a fine writing instrument, you are sure to find this site helpful. We've made shopping for specific brands or models extremely easy for you on our shopping pages. This will save you a ton of aggravation and time!
If you are new to this exciting hobby, be sure to check out our informational pages! These articles will give you a a basic knowledge of the different types of pens, history, terms, slang etc before you start shopping.